Friday, April 13

15 Reasons I Like Living in The Netherlands

There can be challenges in living an expat life, and I have been known to whine and yes, sometimes complain about living in Holland. Nevertheless there are also some keen benefits to life here and I occasionally need to sit down and count those out.

Today is a good day for just that.

1. I love Spring in Holland.
I love it. I love it. I love it.

2. The Chocolate is divine.
I don't know that it is specifically Dutch chocolate, but whatever it's origin, it beats Hershey's. Hands down.

3. I live on a fabulous street in a fabulous area of The Hague.
This neighborhood is called Bohemenbuurt which translated is "Bohemia". And if you know me well then you understand just how incredibly apropos it is for me to live here.

4. I have fabulous neighbors.
Yesterday I sat in the front garden with my neighbors two doors down and visited for awhile. I like that. Just sitting, talking and enjoying company. We discussed everything from caravan travel to the crimes in Srebrenica, while the afternoon sun shone down and warmed our skin.

5. I live a much slower paced life here.
Without a car as transport, the speed of my life is dictated by just how fast my own feet can carry me somewhere. In truth, I do not miss one thing about car ownership and the stresses that accompany driving. I should post about that sometime. I have a lot to say about that.

6. My house is a 5 minute bike ride from the beach.
I am looking forward to lazy summer days playing in the sand.

7. We are ensconced in an International World here.
We have friends from all over the world. Literally. If we play our cards right, our future globe trotting travels could have us sleeping on the couches of acquaintances the world over.

8. The International School for the kids is great.
The international flair at school is strong and I love that my children are in the midst of that. Their teachers and friends hail from countries around the globe (the school boasts over 70 nationalities) and most of them speak more than one, more than two, some more than three, languages fluently. Attending school here is a full experience in diversity. This is something I have always longed to offer my kids.

9. Travel is a snap.
The Netherlands conveniently neighbors Belgium, Germany, and France. The United Kingdom is just a short ferry ride away as well. The location serves us well to take weekend travels to some pretty cool places. Seriously, when was the last time you could say "let's pop down to Paris for the weekend"? (Readers who are fellow continent residents don't get to answer that!)

10. Four seasons.
Living in the Arizona desert for around twelve years, I had misplaced the memories of seasons which change with dramatic impact. Of course, you know how immeasurably I appreciate the spring, but I have similar feelings about the moment the crisp bite of cold air announces the beginning of fall. I can't say with impunity that I like the winter, though I can testify to my joy at its end and the contrast it offers the season following. And I must give full props to summer. See #6 above.

11. Stroopwafels. Poffertjes. Appeltart.

12. My home.
I love my house. I love it's character and charm and its history. We actually found our house in a book about The History of The Hague as Don and I lingered in a bookstore after a lunchdate. It was once a tax accounting office, back in the 1930's. I also love the way Andrew walks along our street, pausing at every garden gate to chant "Is this my house? Nope!" as we stroll past the long road of row houses which all look the same.

13. Flower shops.
I find it perfectly quaint to be able to stop at the flower shop on the street corner to buy flowers for my house. An actual wooden shack with doors flung open for business with buckets, baskets and bushels full of fresh cut flowers for sale, it is a complete sensory delight. Flowers are also incredibly well priced, as in inexpensive. Buying flowers in Holland has spoiled me forever to the overpriced bouquets available in the states. That is something I will really miss when it's time to leave here.

14. Cheese.
I will miss that too. I know to find it elsewhere I will be paying a premium for it. I am willing to budget that in. It's too good to miss out on.

15. Adventure.
I really like that life here is something new and different. It's hard sometimes, yes. And ocassionally I ache for the comforts of my own culture, but in truth I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than where I am. Here. Right now.


  1. Wow - I love your list!!! Makes me want to come join you in The Netherlands like right now!!! :) You did not mention the people...other than your neighbors. Do you find them to be nice in general? I did when I was in Amsterdam. My neighbor is Dutch. He cooked me a Dutch dinner the other night. Croquettas? I think they were called. Fried balls of meet and spices. Yum

  2. I need to write about the people sometime for the long answer to that question. But the short answer is yes AND no. I have met some really remarkable and friendly individuals but I also have stories to tell about some not-so-nice ones. The Dutch have a bit of a reputation with the expat culture for not being overly kind or friendly. Okay, the adjective I hear more than any other is RUDE. But I don't think it's fair to lump them all into that category. I really do have great neighbors and Dutch friends. Trying to explain the nuances of the oddities of the Dutch culture as a whole presents a bit of a challenge. I shall have to think on it and write more another time. Huh! Like this answer to your query was very short after all.

    And yeah, Kroket is marvy.

  3. Let's establish one thing here:

    I am INSANELY jealous of your life. And that Friday 15 didn't help with the whole "Thou shall not covet..." thing.

    What a lovely list. What a lovely life. Thank you for sharing it so us poor, bitter souls can live vicariously through you and your clan.

  4. I was interested before, then moved onto jealous and this post has got me actually coveting your experience. I'd love to visit there, let alone live there. How fun!

  5. This is a fantastic list of super reasons to like where you are! Now I want to live there and I've never been there!!

    Cheers :)

  6. I imagine the Netherlands would be a wonderful place to live....that is a great list!

  7. Hi - I found your blog when reading It coulda been worse. We live in Germany, and go to Holland as much as possible. I have some relatives there, and we love it so much. In fact, we were just there over Easter weekend! So many of the things you wrote are exactly what we experience here in Germany, I was laughing out loud. The "dumb" look when you get lost in a foreign langauge conversation was a favorite of mine. I have a blog, though I don't update it as often as I once did. It's at Check it out sometime, I plan to keep checking in with yours!

  8. Wow. Thanks all for the great comments. Your reaction makes me really appreciate where I am. And I really appreciate you stopping in not only to read, but to say something. That's just incredibly cool.

    For Soccer Mom and Scribbit, thanks so much for the support as this new kid on the blog block finds her feet.

  9. Found your blog through Wordless Wednesday. I'm an American-born woman whose parents were Dutch-Indonesian, and I've lived in the Sonoran Desert for 16 years. Your words have struck a chord with me.

    I have to dash off, but I'll be back.

    I agree; Droste chocolate is THE BEST, and I can't get enough of stroopwafels.


  10. katrina-
    I have visited your blog too and love it. I sent off a couple of emails to you as well to tell you so, but never heard back from you so I am thinking maybe you didn't receive them. I just wanted you to know I appreciated your comment and look forward to chatting more in the future!

    I am so glad you found me. It's just been a lot of fun exploring your blog (and my OLD world). Thanks for visiting and for the lovely words each time.